Wang runs a little noodle shop in a small desert town near Jiayu Pass not far from the Great Wall. He lives in his shop with his wife and their staff. But life with Wang is far from pleasant: he’s a real skinflint who only thinks about himself, and he sometimes doesn’t pay his staff for months on end. His wife also suffers at the hands of this domestic tyrant, although a discrete affair with Li, the shy cook, helps her to bear her lot in life. Every time she needs some more rouge, Li drives his boss lady into town where they have sex. But their regular little tryst doesn’t go unnoticed. Shortly beforehand, Li’s lover purchases a gun from a Persian carpet salesman and gives it to the cook for safekeeping. Wang, she says, must die – it’s the only way they can be happy. In the meantime, a waiter named Zhao and a policeman named Zhang inform Wang about his wife’s love affair and the gun that Li keeps hidden. Wang promises to pay Zhang if he kills the lovers. The next day, Zhang indeed returns with a bloodstained piece of clothing and fiercely pierced piece of woman’s underwear but, as he waits in Wang’s office for his reward, Zhang shoots Wang with the gun he found in Li’s possession. Wang collapses in a heap, but, just as Zhang is about to empty the safe, he hears Zhao arguing with one of the waitresses, Chen. The pair apparently has the same thing in mind as Zhang. Zhang manages to escape through the window unseen, leaving behind the murder weapon and the victim…
Zhang Yimou: “I love all the works by the Coen Brothers. Some twenty years ago at a film festival, I saw their directorial debut, Blood Simple, which left a great impression on me. The film keeps coming back to me, although I haven’t seen it since.” —Berlinale
Zhang Yimou is one of the best-known directors of the Chinese Fifth Generation and one of the most influential and widely respected filmmakers working today. Zhang was born in 1950, in the city of Xi’an in Shaanxi Province, to a future in Communist China that seemed unpromising; his father was an officer in Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang Army and one of his brothers was accused of being a spy, while another fled to Taiwan. During the 1950s, his family’s background was suspect and during the convulsive tumult of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, it was criminal. Zhang was pulled out of high school and sent to toil with the peasants. Later, he transferred to a textile factory. While working there, Zhang reportedly sold his own blood to buy his first camera.
In 1978, at the age of 27, Zhang passed the entrance exam for the Beijing Film Academy but was rejected on account of his age. After an appeal to the Ministry of Culture, however, he was enrolled in the B.F.A.‘s class of 1982… read more
Después de su extraordinaria La Maldición de la Flor Dorada (2006), hubo muchos a quienes les sorprendió (y decepciono ante el resultado final, en la mayoría de los casos) este giro en la carrera de Zhang Yimou al llevar a cabo este remake de la opera prima de los hermanos Coen, el cual es considerado, hasta el momento, la cinta más impersonal del director asiático. A pesar de su habilidad y los aciertos visuales característicos del cine de Yimou, no es difícil percatarse (en especial, durante los primeros minutos) del tono deliberadamente comercial y de fácil consumo, la escasa complejidad en el terreno anecdótico del film, así como de su (a ratos) forzado sentido del humor. Quizá la manera más saludable de ver esta cinta sea tomándola como un mero divertimento (o un logrado fusil) por parte del talentoso cineasta, pues aunque, ciertamente, no se encuentra entre sus mejores trabajos, el gran oficio de Yimou logra imponerse; conforme avanza la trama, el asunto va adquiriendo fuerza (especialmente en su segunda mitad) y una intensidad nada desdeñable gracias al estupendo manejo del suspenso y las convenciones previamente establecidas por los propios hermanos Coen de un género como el thriller, las cuales remiten directamente, por ejemplo, a los mejores momentos de su No Country for Old Men (2007)
Love the location photography of this film, but the rest is not very well done and the characters seem like something out of a Wong Jing movie. In some ways, it is the ultimate Coen brothers film combining the Western suspense of No Country for Old Men with the caricatures of The Ladykillers.
Only redeeming quality of this film, for me, is the aesthetic. There are some gorgeous shots, impressive locations, and beautiful lighting, but every character is annoying (especially the wimpy boyfriend...couldn't even stand watching his scenes throughout the middle-early end of the film), and the dialogue is cheesy. Laughed, maybe, twice. 2.5/5.
The great Zhang Yimou makes a very disappointing remake to the Coen brothers Blood Simple, resetting it a nonspecific Chinese setting of the past. The tone is all wrong and there are no characterizations to speak of. All in all, a bad idea. http://eddieonfilm.blogspot.com/2011/02/not-same-old-song.html
"'I don't want actors, I want people,' director Miguel Gomes tells an impatient producer in an early scene from his masterpiece Our Beloved
Berlinale has always been known for its diplomacy, for better or for worse. After last year's entry of Chen Kaige's Mei Lanfang (Forever